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Old 06-29-2018, 05:14 AM   #1
C. Howell
 
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Back in the early 1980s, an elderly lady gave me what she said were three WW1 Aircraft Propeller Blades; two form a pair (Marked: HC Cleaver / THC No. 64) and a third by Morris & Company, Oxford Street, London. At the time, I was a CCF Air Cadet and she knew I would appreciate and care for them.
I was given to understand that these blades had been brought by her Grandfather from the Cheltenham area at the end of the Great War and hed held a relatively senior position in the St John Ambulance. It was believed that the blades had come from two Aircraft that had crashed somewhere in that area during 1918; all three have damage where they would have joined the hub.
Im hoping that members of the forum may be able to identify the blades, despite the absence of the hub, which I understand may have carried the majority of information.
Casual enquiries over the years have failed to identify the precise age, history or Aircraft type from which they originated. With the RAF Centenary this year, it would be satisfying to find out whatever we could about the blades and perhaps put them on display somewhere.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:39 AM   #2
Dbahnson
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Beautiful decals and a good example of how little they age if not neglected.

It's a daunting task to identify some props even when they are intact with stampings on the hub. It's nearly impossible to narrow it down much without the hub info. There were hundreds and hundreds of different models that all resemble each other, and many different manufacturers would build them under license from other manufacturers.

Fortunately, just knowing that it's from the WW1 "era" and having intact decals make them an attractive display item, in my opinion. I would avoid the temptation to alter them in any way, as the fragmentation of the blade at the hub is an important part of the display.
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:53 PM   #3
Bob Gardner
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Craig,

Thank you for your email and photographs.

Your Cleaver Blades
Little is known about HC Cleaver and his company. He was certainly an experienced prop maker by 1917 when he applied for a patent for a method of prop production which was more economical in the use of scarce timber. He is listed as a prop maker in the Aviation Pocket Book of 1918 and the 1919-20 edition. It is unlikely that his company made propellers after early 1919, by when there were tens of thousands of surplus propellers.

I have recorded two propellers of his. One is a part blade owned by the Shuttleworth Collection which is carved as a memento of Hendon 1917 and believed to be from a Sopwith Pup....but such beliefs are seldom accurate!

The second prop is a complete Cleaver four-bladed prop. The data stamped on the hub are;

DE H4, RAF3A, CP21, DG2442; which translate as:

The DH4 Aircraft: a bomber, made by the AIRCO company.
RAF3A The engine: a type 3a designed by the Royal Aircraft Factory (referred to as RAF until April 2018 when the RNAS and RFC were merged into the Royal Air Force). It produced 200hp.
CP21 might possibly indicate Cleaver's 21st prop type, and THC No. 64 on yours his 64th type. If so, he was a prolific maker but this is unlikely as only one complete prop of his has so far been recorded. It is more likely that they are serial numbers.
DG2442 indicates an Air Board drawing number for a four-bladed prop made for the RAF3a engine on the DH4 and DH9 aircraft.

Cleaver was paid 45-3s-7d for each prop.

In 1925 he was awarded 1200 by HMG for inventions during WW1 in the manufacture of aircraft props, which probably refers to the method of construction he patented in 1917. Government conclusions can be glacial slow!

I have not seen this design of Cleaver decal before. The preceding decal was of conventional early twentieth art nouveau design where as yours has an art deco influence. I have copied your photograph into my photographic database of WW1 propeller decals for which many thanks.

With kind regards,

Bob Gardner
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Last edited by Bob Gardner; 07-02-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:08 PM   #4
Bob Gardner
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Craig,

Secondly, your Morris made blade.

William Morris was one of the leading designers of the Arts & Crafts movement. I'm sure that many descriptions of him exist on the internet. He was world famous.

His company made propellers during WW1 at Lots Road in Chelsea and in Oxford Street, as indicated by your decal.

I have recorded several of his props;

1. A four bladed propeller to drg no T1453 for the BE2A and BE2B, both Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) designs.
2. SE5A propeller, again an RAF design.
3. Sopwith Pup to drg no. LP1020A, a Lang Propeller design.
4. Sopwith Camel to drg no. AD644, an Admiralty design.

One of his props carries the serial number 19922 so he was a prolific maker and must have been recruited early in WW1, perhaps c1915.

With kind regards,

Bob
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